Learning about your lung cancer diagnosis can be as overwhelming for the kids as it is for you. The news may result in behavioral changes among them – younger children may get clingy, and teens might feel angry. Here are a few things you can do to help your kids come to terms with your lung cancer diagnosis and learn how to accept it:
Make Communication a Priority
It's important to sit down and talk with your children as soon as possible after being diagnosed with lung cancer to build trust and make the experience a little less scary for them. The discussion likely won't be easy for anyone involved, so to minimize stress it's a good idea to prepare what you want to address beforehand. Make a list of important points you want to cover and ask a friend or adult family member help you practice your talking points so you aren't so nervous when it comes time to talk to the kids.
Choose a time to talk with your children when it's quiet and you've all had a chance to relax ahead of time. You may want to speak to your older children first, as they may want to help you answer questions and provide a bit of extra support when the younger ones are told. You should schedule a family meeting once a week after everyone has been told about your cancer so that questions and concerns can be addressed, and you can provide updates about your treatment results and overall progress.
Do Some Healing Together
Your kids are sure to feel good about helping you fight cancer, so get them involved in some of the activities and regimens you do at home to complement your lung cancer treatments. You can take walks together to get your lymphatic system moving, do some yoga in the living room on a lazy Sunday morning to relieve stress and improve strength, or make healthy fresh juices together that help support a strong immune system and relieve inflammation.
You can also ask the kids to pitch in and do a few extra chores throughout the week so your workload is lessened and you have some time to rest. Having your children fold laundry, sweep, get the mail, and do other easy tasks can result in significant time savings for you by the end of the day. Make sure that your children understand how each activity you do together helps you heal and feel good so they understand the significance of their help and support.
Get Some Outside Support
In addition to attending family therapy sessions to help each person in your household cope with your lung cancer diagnosis, it can be helpful to participate in support groups, camps, and retreats that are designed to help family members that are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Taking advantage of various support options as a family while you're being treated for lung cancer is an excellent way to enhance your bond with one another and improve your coping skills, so it's easier to support each other at home.
Schedule a week-long retreat during a school break to relieve some stress and learn something new. Plan a mini weekend camp vacation that will keep the kids busy with activities and provide you with workshops that will teach you more about the cancer you're fighting. Take part in a local group support meeting once a week before your family meeting. All of these options should make it possible to keep the kids busy with activities while providing them with the support they need as you progress through your lung cancer treatments.
These tips and tricks shouldn't be difficult to implement into your family's routine, and each should help make it easier for your children to accept and face your cancer diagnosis as time goes on. Talk to your doctor for more information and advice.